Next Autoworks, nee V-Vehicles, recently hired CEO Kathleen Ligocki to shepherd its planned 2012 car through to production. The design of the car itself was overseen by Tom Matano, who helped design the original Mazda Miata and oversaw the design of the 1993 RX-7. Matano recently shared some of the compact car's details with Automotive News, which describes it as a "utilitarian five-door hatchback... a cross between a Nissan Leaf and a Lada Niva."
V-Vehicles started making noises back in 2006 about building an environmentally friendly car that ran on compressed natural gas, and doing it here in the U.S. The company is backed by oilman billionaire T. Boone Pickens and the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the latter of which also backs Fisker. Its head designer is Tom Matano of Mazda Miata and RX-7 fame. In May of this year, Pickens was still talking about the car being on the way, even though all anyone's ever seen of it is a
V-Vehicle started with a strategy of secrecy and keeps on walking down the same path. A bit of corporate glad-handing brought the company's prototype vehicle to elected officials and DOE representatives in D.C. yesterday and, true to form, the event was off-limits to the general public (just like a similar event for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and others in Louisiana last week). The car is making the rounds to boost the company's efforts to pull down a $320 million loan from the DOE's Advanced
They're nothing more than brief flashes on a screen and there's no guarantee that they represent the mysterious new vehicle announced last week, but the teaser images in a promotional video about V-Venture Co. from Louisiana Economic Development could be previewing the company's upcoming high-mpg car. As you can see in the gallery below (assuming the images are of the company's car), the headlights are somewhat Th!nk-like and the dash is uncluttered. Of course, with the car still 18 or more mont